Goff believes that strategic leadership is rooted in competency across three domains: Your core, role, and goal. Read on to hear what 10 strategic leaders think are critical pieces of advice for college students engaging and growing their leadership skills.

Leadership is not simply a title or feeling of authority, it’s a choice. It is a choice to own your skills, talents, and experiences. One doesn’t have to be the best at what they do, but rather maintain a relentless focus on value creation and be able to motivate others towards impact. That’s exactly what these 10 strategic leaders have been able to do through their many years of experience.

YOUR CORE

Your Core is who you are as an individual, which includes your skills, mindsets, and behaviors. This is the strategic leadership potential you bring to your work and team.

1. The best part about being in a leadership position is that you become aware of your strengths and weaknesses. As great as it is to contribute your strengths to a project or team, the real opportunity that comes with leadership lies in growing your areas that could use improvement. Take advantage of any leadership opportunity possible, and use it to develop the areas that you want to grow in. The best leaders are born out of experience and consistent, challenging growth. (Daren Thai, Goff Ambassador)

2. We make our greatest contributions by focusing on developing our strengths much more than by focusing on fixing our weaknesses. (Bill Hesterly, Ph.D., Assistant Professor)

3. As a college student years ago, I struggled to find my voice, or even to see myself as a leader. I found myself taking more of a reactionary role in teams, instead of proactively contributing and taking ownership of decisions. I was great at completing the exact responsibilities I was assigned, but I didn’t seek out much more than that. But gradually, my mindset changed –thanks to mentors, lots of self-reflection, and realizing that the decision to become a leader was entirely up to me. I learned that I needed to identify my strengths, find situations to use them, put intentional thought into not just completing tasks but into creating the maximum amount of value, and be receptive to feedback. And then use a growth mindset to start that process all over again. So this encouragement goes out to all the students who aren’t sure if you can do it, or if you have what it takes to achieve your goals. Here in Goff, we truly believe that everyone has the potential to develop a strategic leadership mindset. It starts with you, and it takes work –and it’s worth it. Will you join us on this journey? (Stephanie Baugh, MA, Manager)

4. Always continue to learn. Always keep learning and seeking to understand even the smallest things. (Greg Goff, Founder)

YOUR ROLE

Your Role is how you interact and work with others to demonstrate strategic leadership and create value within your group or organization.

5. My advice would be to build relationships. As a leader, it is best to know what your counterparts in a workspace/team and what they go through. That builds trust and accountability towards you and your counterparts as well and creates a better environment for everyone. (Yash Vyas, Goff Ambassador)

6. One of the core practices of strategic leadership is the ability to problem find… While we’re often taught to be good problem solvers, very few of us are taught how to address the rightproblem. Learning to scope a problem, find key information, and ask the right questions is critical for value creation and helps set you, your product, and your company apart. (Maya Jolley, Goff Manager)

7. Being a strategic leader is not only about creating value for your team or organization, it’s also about creating and capturing value for yourself. I’ve found that strategic leaders are incredibly dynamic –they don’t rest on the laurels of how success is currently defined or even on the strengths they have today. They continue to be self-aware, to relentlessly focus on what value means to them, to align the resources they need around them, and to take ownership over their own personal growth. (Ruchi Watson, MBA, Ed. D., Managing Director)

YOUR GOAL

YourGoal is what you strive to accomplish as a strategic leader. This is your path to value and the solutions to problems important to your group or organization.

8. One of the most valuable skills of strategic leadership is seeing how things from the short-term play into the long-term. This entails potentially doing things now that are more difficult, knowing that they will likely make things much easier in the future. It very much plays into having a strategic vision and following a relative plan of execution to support it. (Nick Tygesen, Goff Ambassador)

9. I would say in order to be a strategic leader you have to think for not only yourself but for your whole group/community. It is your job to look out for those in need, create compromises when necessary, and always be a resource for others. I could also say being a strategic leader is being “one for the people”. (Addie Collins, Goff Ambassador)

10. What I have learned is that great strategic leaders are simply impatient; they are bothered by problems that surround them and are anxious to tackle them. In this sense they are relentless value creators, constantly identifying new problems that if solved will create value, carefully framing those problems and composing theories about how to solve them. Then, these strategic leaders marshal the resources required tosolve them. (Todd Zenger, Ph.D., Academic Director)

In whatever capacity you lead, do it in a way where you can make a difference, in a way that you can add value, and most importantly, lead in a way that inspires. The Goff Strategic Leadership Center’s courses partner with actual companies, nonprofits, and organizations to teach students the ways in which they can add value at any stage in life. Sign up for a course today, and discover the ways that you can add value and lead in ways that inspire.